Drug References in Music: A Growing Problem?

We’ve all heard the expression “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.” From the foundations of rock, there have been references to drug use and speculation that lyrics were referring to using drugs. Veiled (or not so veiled) references to drug use appear in songs by everyone from Jefferson Airplane and The Doors to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Dave Matthews Band.

The most recent example in drug referencing comes from Madonna, who reportedly alluded to Ecstasy from stage at a recent festival, asking the crowd, “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” (a slang term for Ecstasy).

The question is, does talk about drugs in song or on stage lead to more widespread drug use by listeners? While there’s no concrete proof that drug references in music make listeners more likely to experiment, experts agree it has led to a broader acceptance of the subject. We’re no longer shocked when we hear references to illegal drugs in songs that are played on the radio. And if artists and hit bands can influence things like clothing choices and hairstyles, it’s not a great stretch to imagine that their casual use of drugs will influence impressionable listeners.

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